News Corydon council faces full agenda of improvements
By Willa Clark
Nov 15, 2011, 10:56
Dirk Swartzkopf and Michael Jordison, representatives of Grand River Mutual Telephone Corp., and Ed Spelbring of CHR Solutions, project manager of the fiber optic installation, were at the meeting at the request of the council, to discuss the councils' concerns with the phone company's fiber optic system being installed too near or in some cases even on top of existing water and sewer lines.
City supervisor Dave Cusic said the construction companies have already corrected situations to alleviate some of his concerns and said he was "pretty happy about that." He asked about what may happen in the future, when the city crew needs to dig near a fiber optic cable to repair city utilities.
Jordison said GRM would have a representative on-site if the city needs to dig near their fiber optic cable. In addition, he said the fiber optic line will take longer to repair than copper lines, should any breaks occur, but not as long as some may think.
"Respect it, but don't be afraid of it," Jordison said of the fiber optic system, noting calls to One Call are still required before digging occurs.
"The economic boost this [fiber optic system] will provide for the community far outweighs the inconveniences," Jordison said. He said he believes the availability of higher speed Internet in Leon, which has had fiber optics for nearly two years, has been an influential factor in bringing business and economic growth to that community and he expects the same for Corydon. "For one thing, it provides the ability for remote workers to communicate back to corporate offices in cities," Jordison said.
When it came time to approve the bills, one bill from a local business surfaced in the amount of $1,000 for repairs to a fire truck.
The council hesitated, then decided the bill should be paid, in fairness to the local business. They did not appear too happy with another such expense, considering the fire department has already spent nearly 70 percent of their budget with two-thirds of the fiscal year remaining.
Noting all other city departments must stay within the budget, the council decided to hold a meeting with fire chief Roger Carpenter to discuss spending.
"Didn't we hold payment on a fire department bill last month?" one council member asked, referring to an earlier question of whether fuel was purchased on the city's billing that actually went into a private vehicle.
They learned the fuel bill was paid, but questions were asked and the situation is still being investigated.
Recycling--a step away
Mayor Rod Parham told the council the city is just a step away from initiating a curbside recycling program. "We are waiting for bids on containers," he said.
Last month, the city spent more on picking up and hauling garbage to the landfill than it took in on garbage fees. Parham said he believes a curbside recycling program will save the city money by reducing the amount of garbage taken to the landfill. The plan would include a recycling container for each residence, with city employees picking up recyclables and hauling them to Des Moines.
"Whatever we can keep out of the landfill, it's going to save us in the long run," Parham said.
The council approved changes to the employee personnel policy, with councilman Eric Jaekel saying, "Number 1, we want to make sure we treat our employees fairly, with the expectation they do right by the citizens of the city." The council adopted policy items pertaining to vacation and holiday pay as discussed in a previous work session between city employees and the council. The changes will provide pay of one and one-half the hourly rate when employees are called in on holidays and other paid time off. In addition, employees who reach their 20-year employment date will receive four weeks of paid vacation each year, rather than the current three.
City police chief Allen Fry said he still is concerned that holiday pay is addressed for the hourly workers, but not for the salaried workers. The council asked city clerk Ann Stephens to check with other towns for their policy and will discuss Fry's concerns at another meeting.
Jason Miller, engineer with MSA working on the sewer improvements, presented requests for payout to VisuSewer and NutriJect Systems.
The payout request for VisuSewer was for $275,903.60, with Miller noting this is "on a pure fiscal basis," but that approximately 1/3 of the total project is completed. Relining sewer lines is approximately 90 percent finished, the manhole rehab is completed and there is still much work in digging and replacing sewer lines, Miller said. The council approved this payout.
A second request was for a payout of $97,612.50 to Nutriject Systems. Miller said NutriJect has completed sludge removal from Cell 1 at the lagoon and is nearly ready to begin the next cell. Although the company has already removed more sludge from Cell 1 than they had estimated for the entire project, that fact will not increase the cost, Miller said. The council also approved the payment to NutriJect.
A third company, H. and W. Construction, holds the contract for work on the flow measurement system. They did not complete the work in the appointed time, and the council agreed to withhold $2,975 of the final payment to compensate for the additional inspection charges.
The council came near to accepting the gift of the "old West house and creamery" located east of the square on Highway 2, then pulled back after comments from councilman Clint Carpenter.
"I think we're into a potential hornet's nest of cost," Carpenter said. The council decided to investigate the property further to see what liabilities the city might face in removing the house and creamery building, before making a decision.
On other nuisance properties, the council decided to move ahead with legal action on several that have already exceeded the time limits to abate nuisances, and to begin the process on three other properties, enlisting the help of the city's attorney as necessary.
Cusic asked the council to purchase a 7-1/2 foot snow blade for the skid loader to make snow removal more time-effective at a cost of $1,800. He said he is considering cleaning the sidewalks around the square, which prompted discussion of possible city liability if doorways or flowerpots are damaged. The council approved the purchase of the blade, if money can be found in this year's budget.
In other business, the council--
• agreed the clerk should be encouraged to attend available training sessions.
• heard there was a total of 12.29 hours of overtime at a cost of $335.43.
• will consider contracting with an outside entity for the mowing at the lagoon for the next mowing season.
• set a special session for 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 28.
• set the next regular meeting for 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 8.